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New High Commissioner To Samoa

New Zealand's next High Commissioner to Samoa will be Dr Penelope Ridings, Foreign Minister Phil Goff announced.

"Relations between New and Samoa are very close and are based on historical, cultural and family ties," Mr Goff said.

The bilateral relationship is underpinned by the Treaty of Friendship, which was signed by New Zealand and Samoa in 1962, the same year that Samoa became fully independent.

"Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of the Treaty of Friendship which will provide the opportunity to celebrate our enduring partnership with Samoa.

"An estimated 120,000 Samoans now live in New Zealand, making up around 50% of the Pacific population in this country. Four government MPs are of Samoan descent," Mr Goff said.

Samoa is New Zealand's fifth largest export market in the region and New Zealand exports to Samoa totalled $50m to June last year.

Dr Ridings joined the Ministry in 1988 after a number of years spent in the Pacific studying and working. Since joining the Ministry, she has served in Bonn and more recently as Deputy High Commissioner in Apia. Since 1998 she has been Deputy Director of the Ministry's Legal Division.

Dr Ridings takes up her position in April 2001, replacing Mac Price.


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